Top 10 Common Cartoon Cliches

The Top Ten
1 Characters impersonating other actors or characters

The episode in Spongebob Squarepants titled "Mimic Madness" is a good example of this where Spongebob impersonates almost everyone in the episode.

2 The good guy never gets hurt

Honestly, I don't see this much as the good guy does get hurt but never plot-changing, character-changing, or fatal to the point of near death. An example of this is Peter Griffin (from Family Guy), in which he keeps getting hurt and ABSOLUTELY destroying his bones, but it never changes the plot of more than one episode.

I hate this so much! It also sends an untrue message that if you are a good person, nothing bad will happen to you.

However, there are a few exceptions, like Steven Universe, where many of the good characters were poofed and destroyed/shattered.

3 Satire and cultural references

Almost every adult show has this cliche in it.

AKA The cheapest way to write jokes.

They're actually pretty funny.

4 The damsel in distress

I want to hit my head against the wall every time I see a really weak character who needs saving. Like- come ON! If you want to put a girl character in danger, at least don't make her stupid enough to get into it! Make her put up a fight or something- realistically, people don't just let you grab them and throw them into cages. Or don't do it at all! Here's an idea- what if she gets captured and then escapes *without* the hero's help?

This literally tells kids that women are weak. Almost every show has a damsel in distress in it that the main character (of course, a guy) has to constantly save. I mean, come on. Give the woman powers and the guy a break already.

Especially in some of the old cartoons were the female character is kidnapped and it's the job of the hero to save them, for example: Olive Oyl from Popeye, Sweet Polly Purebread from Underdog and Minnie Mouse in the Mickey Mouse cartoons.

5 Villains with dumb henchmen

This cliché has been existing for too many damn YEARS. I mean, the villain could at least have the knowledge of hiring smart and serious henchmen. And I noticed that this has been used for "comedic purposes". Definitely NOT comedy for me!

Argh! Why not get a real smart henchmen dudes!?! It's real annoying seeing that the smart villain has a stupid guy following him EVERYWHERE

All fat and dumb imbeciles talking in slow motion. Why are they normally bald?

6 Bad guys always lose

Seriously, sometimes movies let the bad guy win but this is to much these bad guys have thing that are 10 times better then them. But then boom the good guys win, how does this even work? Seriously I hate this.

Um, this isn't really a cliche. It's just kind of how stories work. The interesting part of the movie is finding out WHY the good guys win, how it happens, and if they loose anyone in the process.

I know that the good guy is SUPPOSED to win, however sometimes the bad guy will lose so much that he will be a complete failure. (Hint Doofinshmirtz and Perry)

I mean the bad guys need to to have glory at least SOMETIMES.

7 Cat and mouse chases

I grew up with this one since I was a formerly known Tom & Jerry super fan when I was a kid. And let me say this: everybody probably grew up with this.

Yeah old school lame!

8 Traps and weapons backfiring on the bad guys

Two Words: heinz doofenshmirtz.

9 Parents never around

Like what does the Pj Masks parents do!? They never spend time with their kids and never see them sneaking out! Plus they can just walk around the city with no adult, when I can't even walk in my own neighborhood and I'm a teen! And how can they not hear there kids yelling?!

Has anyone ever seen Ed, Edd'n Eddy Parents or even Beavis and Butt-heads parents for that matter.

And even when they're around they never seem to keep an eye on their kids.

10 Characters wearing the same clothes every day

I am aware this saves time for the animators. Instead of having to come up with a lot of character sheets references wearing all the different clothes they just need one(or a lot fewer) but it would be nice to see what different characters' style of clothing would be! That's also a way to learn to know a character. Like in Sailor Moon, the characters wear different clothes, and damn do I love me some good Sailor Moon fashion.

Agreed, one of the worst! Seriously, doesn't it stink? And I'm bored seeing this! Example: Mickey Mouse, from 19's to this day. His shorts must stink by now.

I feel like the character designer should at least have them wear 4 or 5 differenent clothes.

The Contenders
11 The dumbass dad and the mom too good for him

Marge and Homer, Peter and Lois, Timmy's Mom and Dad, Richard and Nicole Watterson. It just gets old.

Yep, we live in a world where only idiot males get married, and all of them to women out of their league. There's nothing new to be done with this cliché. Homer Simpson by himself exhausted all the possibilities.

Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin, Hugh Neutron, Goofy, Billy's Dad from Billy & Mandy, the list goes on!

12 Innocent characters who immediately become targets for abuse

Yeah. Mickey Mouse in the 2013 series, for example, doesn't deserve any of the abuse he goes through

Hate this one! Stop with this, it's just sad.

13 Greedy characters

Examples: me krabs piggy from dog man angelica pickles me burns

14 Characters walking off the edge and not falling down immediately

They fall.
They hang there in mid-air.
They fall.
They scream.
Nothing bad happens to them or they go to the hospital for 2 minutes.
New episode.

15 Villains boasting about how evil they are

Realistically, no one would boast about how evil they are unless they are a sadist. Usually, if someone is going against you, they would have reasons. Those reasons do not include taking over, or destroying the world. These reasons are usually the villain doing what they think is the right thing to do, and defending what they need to defend. So, a villain wouldn't boast about how evil he is because he's doing what he believes is right. Unless he's a sadist.

16 Main character always has a crush on a Latin-American character

The Loud House. Lincoln and Ronnie Anne (or whatever her name is), Lori and Bobby. Period.

17 Angry mobs

Of course! They always try to kill someone over the littlest things!

You see these all the time in cartoons, with regular civilians carrying torches and pitchforks against the main character

18 Teenage girls who secretly fight crime

Starfire can fight crime!

19 Character has only four fingers

The Backyardigans minus Pablo. He has mitten like flippers.

The Loud House is a perfect example!

20 Getting hit by an anvil and not dying

Anvil will not kill you but it would hurt you enough to get send to the hospital! Tom and Jerry's anvil is big a nobody died!

21 There's always a Christmas special

This isn't a cartoon trope. Many live-action shows have Christmas specials too.

22 Talking dogs

Johnny Test, Snoopy, Paw Patrol, 101 Dalmatians, Jake from Adventure Time, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Toy Story (with reason), Ren from The Ren & Stimpy Show is a chihuahua, The Fairly Odd Parents recently got a dog, Pound Puppies.

23 Villains with an "evil laugh"

Some laughs are good but sometimes, it needs to stop.

Evil laughing is amazing when it's done right.

24 Characters with faces never shown

Rita and Lynn Sr from the loud house have their faces shown idiot

25 Good guys vs. bad guys

There is nothing which grinds my gears more than a good guys vs. bad guys plot. Such plots are black and white, portraying the main characters like they are perfect and their enemies like they are completely evil. Despite what many people want to think, real life is nothing like this! People in real life start wars because they want to protect their own interests, not because they feel like they have a moral obligation to get rid of the "bad guys". Although real-life people we label as "bad guys" tend to be terribly mislead or brainwashed, it is still extremely naïve to say that they are purely evil. Also, it is possible to make an action genre without a good guys vs. bad guys plot. This can be done by depicting both sides of a conflict neutrally.

I agree so much with the one below! Like in Pokémon I liked Team Rocket more than Ash and his friends because Team Rocket had more personality, they dared be rude, silly and they never gave up even though they kept failing. It was more motivational than Ash's journey of becoming a Pokémon master It felt sad when most of all sad, awkward and dumb things happened to Team Rocket just because they are supposed to be the bad guys. We need a grey cartoon(this sounds more boring than what it is)!

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